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ImTech Unveils Immersive Technology Awards
[October 31, 2010]

ImTech Unveils Immersive Technology Awards

Oct 29, 2010 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- The Immersive Tech Awards (the Immys) debuted at the Summit, a gathering dedicated to exploring the technological reaches of imagination.

"Immersive technology" refers to software and devices that blur the barrier between the physical and digital worlds, thereby creating "immersive" experiences.

"The common thread among all the Immy winners is an aggressive commitment to realize the vision - to take these technologies mainstream," said Nathan Makino, CEO of ImTech, the new Los Angeles-based non-profit think that organized the Summit.

"Beyond the awards, this was more than just your average conference or trade show -- it was an experience," he said. "And sharing the experience with people who aren't physically present, as we did through TechZulu's generous live stream coverage-- now that's immersive technology.

Fans were invited to vote for their favorites. Taking home an Immy were five companies across as many disciplines: -Arts/Entertainment: 360 Video, Social Animal -Research/Education: StarCAVE, CalIT2 -Health Sciences: BCI wheelchair, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne -Communication: 3D Holographic Technology, Musion -Interface: G-Speak, Oblong "ImTech welcomed a cadre of remarkable speakers, including telepresence robots from Fred Nikgohar, Dr. JoAnn Kuchera Morin -- who showed us what it's like to be inside a Schrodinger equation -- and Bonnie Buckner, discussing the importance of unleashing the talent and imagination of youth through the power of technology," Makino said.

According to a release, the conference featured an assortment of interactive exhibits, including the hamster-ball Virtusphere, augmented reality applications from Metaio, Zugara, Total Immersion, and Ogmento, and brain-computer interfacing from BCINet.

Immersive Technology Summit 2010 is the first of what will become an annual conference, with focused seminars and special events held throughout the year, beginning in Q1 2011. ImTech marks the kickoff of an organized and enthusiastic effort to engage the Southern California community in a conversation around these emerging technologies.

As a key part of that effort, ImTech has developed, a project on "We're creating a simulation system that previously existed only in science fiction," Makino said. "Our goal is to provide the ability to create digital simulations that, as far as your brain can tell, are indistinguishable from physical reality. We essentially want people to be able to lucid dream in a waking state. The simulation system will enable you to see virtual worlds in a 3D 360 degrees first-person perspective, allowing you to exist in it, rather than watching it as a spectator." According to Makino, successful funding of this project will enable ImTech to build out the world's first publicly accessible hackerspace for immersive experiences.

"Los Angeles, with its unique position in the arts and entertainment industry, will start to explore how immersive technology can enhance story-telling and narrative," he noted. "Our Q1 event will gather technologists, artists, and entertainment professionals to collaborate on applications of immersive technology." Immersive Tech (ImTech) is a non-profit think tank, based in Los Angeles and dedicated to promoting the development and adoption of immersive technology. The organization seeks to provide a new medium for human creativity, and sees boundless potential with the creation of perceptually-real, immersive environments.

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